Airbus is to cut its global workforce by 15,000 employees in response to an industry downturn prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the European aircraft manufacturer announced on Tuesday. Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury described the Corona crisis as the “gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced,” saying he hoped to conclude negotiations on the job losses by the autumn.
The country worst affected by the proposed redundancies is Germany where 5,100 positions will be lost. France is set to lose around 5,000 positions and 1,700 jobs will be cut in the United Kingdom. In Spain, up to 900 employees could be made redundant, while 1,300 positions will be lost at Airbus’ other facilities around the world, including in the United States and China.
With demand for air travel not expected to return to pre-COVID levels until 2023 at the earliest, airlines have been lining up to defer or cancel aircraft orders. Faury claimed at one point some airlines were refusing to pick up the phone to discuss orders, while Airbus has witnessed a 40 per cent drop in business activity in the last few months,
Saying that Airbus must now “confront” the reality of the situation that has unfolded, Faury said the aircraft manufacturer must “adopt more far-reaching measures” than previously announced budget cuts.
“The measures we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic,” he continued. “Now, we must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader, adjusting to the overwhelming challenges of our customers.”
While Airbus is not “ruling out” compulsory redundancies, the company said it hoped to reach agreements with unions on voluntary redundancy, early retirements and furlough. The exact proposals will vary from country to country depending on local laws and what government support schemes are available.
Airbus is targeting autumn of this year to conclude negotiations will all positions to have gone by summer 2021. A further previously announced 900 job losses at Airbus subsidiary Premium AEROTEC in Germany are on top of the headline figures but the redundancies will be concluded in the same timeframe,
Last month, rival aircraft manufacturer Boeing announced the first wave of involuntary redundancies with 6,770 U.S. employees told they would be laid off. Boeing’s president and Chief executive Dave Calhoun said he wished “there was some other way,” to weather the COVID-19 storm without turning to redundancies in an open letter to staffers.
Airbus now estimates that an industry recovery may not be fully realised until 2025.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.